eek that are abused and
even killed at the hands of their parents, guardians and caretakers. What
is even more astounding is the number of children that are abused and it is
never even reported. According to the National Center on Child Abuse and
Neglect. “In 1997 about 3 million children in the United States were
reported as abused or neglected to government agencies that investigate
child abuse” (“Child Abuse”1). People who witness the child being abused
will normally do two things: make a phone call to help the child or turn
there heads the other way because they do not want to get involved.
How would one define child abuse? Child abuse, also referred to as child
maltreatment, is the result of physical or emotional trauma to a child
inflicted from a parent or an adult caretaker (“Child Abuse”1). Child abuse
does not only affect those of a certain race or wealth. It does not
discriminate from color, religion, sex or income. Child abuse can affect
wealthy families as well as poor families.
Child abuse is a cycle. Children who grow up in abused or neglected
environment are more likely to abuse their children than a child who grew
up in a healthy one.
The cycle continues until it is broken by that child
or by someone who is willing to help the child. The first form of child
protection came from a group called Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
to Animals. Mary Ellen, an eight-year-old girl, stood up in the Supreme
Court of New York in 1874 and told her story of how she had never received
love from her mother. The only thing she received from her mother was daily
beatings and whippings. The social worker that was working on Mary Ellen’s
case turned for help to the founder of Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals because the court was not going to acknowledge child
abuse as breaking the law. The community activist that the social worker
called upon decided to use every resource he had to help convince the
They won. The mother went to prison and Mary Ellen was adopted.
Shortly after Mary Ellen’s case, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
to Children in New York was formed (Morales 2). Mary Ellen’s case helped
open the public eye on child abuse in 1874.
There are several types of child abuse: physical, emotional, sexual abuse
and neglect. There are two types of neglect; physical and emotional.
Physical abuse is when a parent or caretaker is physically harming the
child, by beating, kicking or throwing them. “Physical abuse is 22% of all
substantiated cased of abuse”(“Physical Abuse” 1). Physical abuse is the
easiest form of abuse to identity.
The six physical indictors of abuse are bruises, burns, lacerations,
abrasions, skeletal, head, and internal injuries.
Bruising on a child’s body, when it is a result of abuse, is normally on
the body’s posterior and in unusual patterns. These are signs that the
bruises are not accidentally related when in clusters, bruising on infants
and multiple bruising in various stages of healing.
Second are burns on a child’s body are also done in unusual patterns.
Some signs of burns not being accident related are immersion burns:
doughnut-shape burns on the buttocks. Cigarette burns on the hands and
feet, rope burns from confinement, dry burns caused by irons are all signs
that the child is being abused.
Third are lacerations and abrasions. When it comes to the lacerations and
abrasions on the abused child’s body, it is usually on the lips, eyes, on
an infant’s face, on gum tissue caused by the parent force-feeding the
child, and cuts on the external genitals.
The fourth sign is skeletal injuries.
Injuries include fractures of the
long bones from twisting and pulling, separation of bone and shaft, spiral
fractures, detachment of tissue of bone and shaft, and stiff and swollen
enlarged joints. Injuries like this are hard for a child to do on his or
The fifth indictors are head injuries. Head injuries include missing or
loosened teeth, absence of the hair, hemorrhaging beneath the scalp from
hair pulling, retinal hemorrhages from hitting or shaking the child and
nasal or jaw fracture.
The sixth form of physical child abuse is internal injuries. Out of the
six, internal injuries are not visible to the naked eye.
It requires a
doctor’s examination and testing to see if the child has internal injuries.
For a doctor to determine if the injuries are a result of abuse he .